New travelling exhibition celebrates the passion and resilience of the Rohingya community

Posted On Thursday September 21, 2023

Opening Saturday, September 23 at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum.

Waterloo Region – Jasbaa, meaning passion in Rohingya, is at the heart of a new travelling exhibition set to open on Saturday, September 23 at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum.

“Jasbaa is a window into the passion, traditions and resilience of the Rohingya community,” said Karen Redman, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. “This exhibit reinforces the importance of our collective commitment to bolster education, build a welcoming community, and tackle racism and oppression.”

Artists by nature are passionate, and the Rohingya people are passionate about maintaining their traditions, language, and song under the harshest of conditions. Jasbaa: The Art of Rohingya Refugee Resistance sheds light on the untold stories of the Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar described by The United Nations as “the world’s most persecuted minority”.

For decades, successive governments of Myanmar have committed grave human rights violations and atrocity crimes against this community. Canada has recognised that these crimes against the Rohingya constitute genocide.

Curated by poet, author, humanitarian worker and human rights activist Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali, Jasbaa celebrates the resilience, dignity, and self-expression of the Rohingya people. The exhibition brings stories to life through a series of paintings, photography, poetry, videography, and embroidery produced by Rohingya community members living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Canada.

“The Rohingya story is not simply one of victimhood,” says guest curator Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali. “Even in the face of adversity in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, members of the community continue to produce art and express creativity as a form of resistance against their oppressors. Through this exhibit, Rohingya voices have been shared. Those voices are calling for humanitarian assistance, protection, and justice. My hope is that Jasbaa will be a catalyst to educate, share and support ongoing efforts.”

We invite the community to join members of the museum team for a formal celebration to open Jasbaa: The Art of Rohingya Refugee Resistance.

  • What: Official opening Jasbaa: The Art of Rohingya Refugee Resistance exhibition
  • When: Saturday, September 23
    1 - 1:30 p.m. Opening remarks
    1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Interactive activities including a viewing of the documentary
    “Rohingya: The Resistance” are included with admission
  • Who:
    • Karen Redman – Chair, Region of Waterloo
    • Andrew Thompson – Balsillie School of International Affairs
    • Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali – Guest Curator, Jasbaa: The Art of Rohingya Refugee Resistance
    • Lee Scheerer – Host and Supervisor, Region of Waterloo Museums
  • Where: Theatre - Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum, 10 Huron Road, Kitchener ON
  • Parking: Free available onsite

This project is funded by the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo.


“It is often said that the arts define us, and make us more human. The destruction of culture constitutes the destruction of the soul. We are grateful to be partnering with the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum on Jasbaa. This important exhibit is more than a commemoration of the crimes committed against the Rohingya p